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My story ◆ My credentials ◆ My education
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Many dogs do not enjoy hugs, but I promise Sadie did in this photo. Please never hug a strange dog or any dog who doesn't truly enjoy it.

My dog behavior and training story starts with the original KinDog, my Sadie girl. Soon after adopting The Bestest Good Girl Ever, I buried myself in loads of resources about dog training, dog behavior, canine body language, equipment, and more. Holy cow is there a lot of harmful information out there! From TV personalities who "whisper" while hurting dogs to monks who profess peace while scaring dogs, none of it felt right to me. 


Thankfully, I discovered Jean Donaldson's The Culture Clash early on in my journey. This seminal book was the lightbulb moment I had been looking for – a humane, science-based approach to teaching dogs, finally. No myths about dominance, no painful tools, no physical force, no fear and intimidation. Just kindness, science, and skills. This is the way. 

And so my passion to help humans with their beloved doggies was ignited. I eventually went on to earn my Certificate in Training and Counseling (CTC) and graduated with honors from The Academy For Dog Trainers, a comprehensive two-year program led by Jean Donaldson, an award-winning author and world-renowned expert in dog training and behavior. At the Academy – widely regarded as "the Harvard of dog training schools" – I studied animal learning theory, force-free training techniques, dog behavior, behavior issues, fear, aggression, reactivity, ethology, evolution, genetics, dog breeds, critical thinking, client counseling skills, and more. I am honored to be one of just a handful of CTCs in the Chicagoland area.  

I also earned my Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) credential from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. This independent certification requires logging at least 300 hours of professional dog training, passing a 200-question certification exam, and fulfilling continuing education requirements. I am also a Supporting Member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and a Behavior and Training Professional Member of the Pet Professional Guild.

Before all of that, I earned a Juris Doctor, cum laude from Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago, Illinois, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Yep, I am a lawyer too, but that's a different story for a different website.

Let's not forget about Sadie! Over the years, Sadie earned her share of credentials, including Canine Good Citizen, Novice Trick Dog, and Intermediate Trick Dog titles from the American Kennel Club. Sadie was an enthusiastic lifelong learner, but also the best teacher I ever had. Patience. Empathy. Trust. Love. Her daily lessons made me the trainer and the human I am today. Although Sadie is no longer physically with me, she lives on in my heart and is the soul of KinDog Behavior and Training. Because dogs are family forever. 

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Part of being a professional means keeping current on research and practices in the dog behavior world. The following list is a sample of continuing education programs and seminars I've completed in recent years.

  • ​Calm in the Chaos: Tackling Noise Phobia in Dogs and Cats, Dr. Lisa Radosta, DVM, DACVB (2024)

  • Nutrition and Behavior: Where Do They Intersect?, Dr. Maggie O’Brian, DVM, DACVB (2024)

  • I Want a New Drug Baby: Better Living Through Chemistry, Dr. Amy Learn, DACVB (2024) 

  • Emotional Regulation in Dogs, Dr. Kristina Spaulding, PhD (2024)

  • Canine Aggression: A Veterinary Behaviorist’s Perspective, Dr. Christine Calder, DVM, DACVB (2024)

  • Behavioral Psychopharmacology, Dr. Christine Calder, DVM, DACVB (2024)

  • The Anxiety Pendulum, Jean Donaldson (2023)

  • But My Dog’s Not Food-motivated, Kathy Sdao (2023)

  • The Genetics of Dog Personality, Dr. Jessica Hekman, DVM, PhD (2023)

  • Is It Genetic? Nature and Nurture in Behavior Problems, Dr. Jessica Hekman, DVM, PhD (2023)

  • Introducing Ethics: Theory, Reasoning, and Non-Human Animals, Dr. Joan Forry, PhD (2023)

  • Intro to Emotional CPR for Pet Professionals, Valerie Bogie (2023)

  • Behavior Medications Q&A, Dr. Jennifer Summerfield, DVM (2023)

  • Living and Learning with Animals (8-week course), Dr. Susan Friedman, PhD (2022)

  • Biology of Dog Aggression, Dr. Tim Lewis, PhD (2022)

  • Pain and Problem Behavior: Putting Animal Welfare First!, Dr. Daniel Mills, PhD (2021)

  • Bringing the Conversation Out of the Shadows: Behavioral Euthanasia Considerations, Dr. Chris Pachel, DVM, DACVB (2021)

  • Getting to Yes: Encouraging Your Dog to Cooperate in His Own Care, Dr. Deborah Jones, PhD (2021)

  • The Science of Making Dogs Happy, Dr. Zazie Todd, PhD (2021)

  • Why Animals Need Trainers Who Adhere to a Procedural Hierarchy: Improving Animal Welfare and Trainers' Skills, Dr. Susan Friedman, PhD (2021)

  • Sound Advice: Help for Your Noise Sensitive Dog, Dr. Amy Cook, PhD (2021)

  • Happily Ever After! or, Not So Much? Prognostic Factors in Behavior Cases, Dr. Jennifer Summerfield, DVM (2021)

  • Negotiation: How to Use Body Language and "Speak Dog" to Deal with Aggression Cases, Dr. Jim Crosby, PhD (2021)

  • The Gift of a Gray Muzzle, Kathy Sdao (2021)

  • Where Will the Good Dogs Come From?, Dr. Jessica Hekman, DVM, PhD (2021)

  • Thinking About Dogs from an Evolutionary Perspective, Dr. Kathryn Lord, PhD (2021)

  • Conducting Successful and Safe Inter-Dog Introductions, Mara Valez (2021)

  • The Secrets Behind Proper Canine Exposure to Novelty, Debbie Martin (2021)

  • The Science of Enrichment, Dr. Kristina Spaulding, PhD (2021)

  • Handling Animal Mistakes Positively, Ken Ramirez (2020)

  • Anxiety: The Whole Story, Dr. Jessica Hekman, DVM, PhD (2020)

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